Green Safelights....unlikely solution? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I had an idea for a green safelight last night at about 4:30 AM while walking down a darkened hallway. You know those flat green night-lights available now that resemble the Indiglo watch faces? Well, I'm wondering why one of those wouldn't work. They're readily available, cheap, use very little electricity, and if it's too bright, it would be very easy to move it back or put a ND filter over the face of it. So, have I come upon a good solution? Comments? Thanks in advance.

-- David Munson (, September 14, 2001



I don't know for sure, but I would guess that the wavelength of the ligth emitted by the night light probably isn't the same as the wavelength of tunsten light passing through a green safelight filter.

-- Ken Burns (, September 14, 2001.

This is true, though as it has been previously stated, the safelights for DBI aren't green because of the film's sensitivity, but because green is the color of light most visible to the human eye. Because of this, I suspect that the biggest problem with this solution might be just getting the light intensity to a reasonable level.

-- David Munson (, September 14, 2001.

Huh! Interesting, I'll have to grab my 3 year olds and give it a try! Cheers

-- Scott Walton (, September 14, 2001.

I assume you're interested in this so that you can develop film by inspection. If so, you may want to make sure there's a way to hook up a foot switch to turn it on and off. The way I was taught to develop by inspection, you need both hands free to inspect the negative and you can't have both hands free unless your green light can be turned on and off via a foot switch. I bought a green filter for my safe light a year or so ago but have been frustrated in my attempts to develop by inspection. The only one I've ever seen hooked up to a foot switch was Michael Smith's but the kind he has is no longer manufactured. Perhaps someone more mechanically inclined than I am has some ideas.

-- Brian Ellis (, September 15, 2001.

It plugs right into a regular wall outlet, and I'm pretty sure I can find or make a momentary foot switch, so this shouldn't be a big problem.

-- David Munson (, September 15, 2001.

Hello, As far as the foot switch goes, I found one at Ace hardware that was made for Christmas tree lights. It is green plastic and probably not durable enough to last long but it should last until I can find something else. I was wondering if anyone has tried calling on a sewing machine repairman. I remember that my mother's machine had a heavy duty looking foot switch???

-- David Vickery (, September 16, 2001.

Re: Foot Switch. I got a pnematic footswitch from a place here called Lee Valley Tools -- they have a web site -- big mail order concern in Canada with tools that would ... never mind. Anyhow, there are two kinds and the one I got is just like the bulb setting. If it is durable enough for a shop, and safe enough for a router table, I'll bet it'll do. I just use it on my enlarger, but you could just plug it in to the light. It has an optional yellow saftey housing -- I figured I didn't need it as the enlarger going on isn't the same as the router. It's calld Lectric Air. Dean

-- Dean Lastoria (, September 17, 2001.

I did a web search on foot switches and came up with However, I've been developing by inspection for years and have never used a foot switch. I use a large safelight that is over my enlarger, opposite my darkroom sink. This means it is six feet or more from my developing tray, and my shadow falls on the tray when the light is turned on. After turning on the light, I pick up the negative, turn around, and hold it up to the light to inspect both sides. This does not seem to be a problem, so long as one is at least 2/3's of the way into the development. And if you use a pyrogallol or pyrocatechin developer, you can simply turn the light on and leave it on at that point, as the tanning action of the developer will have desensitized the film sufficiently for continuous inspection. I do it all the time.

I could swear those nightlights are much brighter than my green filtered safelight, but I suppose they might work--my fear is that they are not a dark enough green.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, September 17, 2001.

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